American Iron Magazine is super excited to announce a story we ran in Issue #334, “Ghosts of the Open Road: Riding the Lonely Highways of Nevada and Death Valley” was a finalist in the North American Travel Journalists Association 2016 Travel Journalism Awards. A big round of applause for the person who penned the wonderful article, motojournalist Glen Abbott. Congratulations Glen, whose story was a finalist in the Destination Travel, Domestic Magazine category. The video he shot to accompany the story was a winner too, taking 3rd place in the Travel Video section (Check out Glen Abbott’s Ghosts of the Open Road video at www.vimeo.com/TravelinGringo).
Read the introduction to Abbott’s “Ghosts of the Open Road: Riding the Lonely Highways of Nevada and Death Valley” below and enjoy some of his fine photos. For the complete article, grab you a copy of American Iron Magazine Issue #334 and check out other great back issues at Greaserag.com.
Ghosts of the Open Road (excerpt)
Riding the lonely highways of Nevada and Death Valley by Glen Abbott
Riding down, down, down into the Valley of Death, the temperature climbed as the elevation dropped. Snow-white borax flats shimmered like a mirage in the distant valley below. The roar of the Harley’s engine and the rush of the wind filled my sun-baked senses as I slipped into the Zen-like state of tranquility that long riders live for. Floating in that sea of tranquility, I sped deep into the belly of one of the most beautiful, yet God-forsaken, places on earth.
Fittingly, the adventure began in Sin City, better known as Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a city that even legendary gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson found unnerving. “No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs,” he wrote in his 1972 masterpiece, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “Reality itself is too twisted.”
In Vegas today, things are the same, only different. Newer casinos sprout like money-hungry monsters from the imploded remains of old ones, and LEDs have replaced neon as the illumination source on many of the garish marquees. But bits and pieces of the old Vegas remain, if you know where to look. Places like the Mob Museum, which fully embraces the city’s sordid criminal past; the Neon Museum, whose boneyard is haunted by the ghosts of vintage casino signs; or the Atomic Testing Museum, which attempts to explain why the federal government thought it might be a good idea to detonate nuclear weapons in the remote Nevada desert, are certainly worth the time to visit.
Even after countless nuclear blasts — both in the atmosphere and underground — apparitions still lurk among the sagebrush and yucca of that remote desert. Indeed, traveling the state’s lonely highways you may sense the spirits of the long-dead prospectors, dreamers, and con men who lived and died in pursuit of the gold and silver riches that the land had to offer. Or maybe you’ll find space aliens and their crashed flying saucers. You just have to believe. -AIM